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To-Do List Wisdom from Mindy Kaling

It’s graduation season, which leads to plenty of people thinking about their long-term goals, not just college students. Often when we reminisce on the goals we had at graduation we focus on all the things we haven’t done.

But are we being too hard on ourselves?

Mindy Kaling thinks so!

When speaking at the graduation ceremony at Dartmouth College Mindy’s final advice to the graduating class was to “let it go.”

We may have a dozen goals in our head when we graduate and some of them may happen and some might not. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed or strayed from your path, just that life often doesn’t go the way you planned.

In previous posts I’ve talked of the importance of evaluating your long-term goals. It’s okay to accept that a goal might no longer be what you want or that you need to put it on the back burner while you focus on more important things. A perfect example of this is a woman I interviewed, author Karen Rizzo, she continually put “Learn Italian” on her list and guess what – never happened.

When evaluating long-term goals there are a few things to take into consideration:

Priorities – What we think is a top priority and what we actually spend most of our time and energy on can be two very different things. Depending on where we are in life our biggest priority can be different things, focusing on family, career or even our health.

Does your top priority line up with your daily habits? Check out the book Essentialism for ways to do this better. Maybe you want to get a new job, but you haven’t been to a networking event in months. Or you’re trying to take a step back with work, but still find yourself emailing at 10pm! Make sure your actions line up with your priorities. If they don’t then it might be time to reassess.

Diminishing Returns – The law of diminishing returns is used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

Essentially the more effort you put into something the less you get out of it. How annoying is that?

It’s good to remember though, when you feel like you’ve been pushing a goal or idea for too long – maybe it’s time to ease up a bit?

For example, how many times have you heard people say they found their romantic partner once they stopped looking? The same can be said for many other goals. I know a few people who have been stuck in the ‘research’ phase of writing a book, because they keep finding more and more information pulling them in different directions. At some point you just have to draw a line in the sand and start writing!

When it comes to your goals it’s as Mindy Kaling said –

“Don’t trust any one story of how to become successful.”

Find the path that works for you, it doesn’t have to look like what your 21-year-old self imagined.

 

An Easy Exercise to Help You From Drowning in Lists

In just a few days my bud and business partner Terri Trespicio and I will be headed to the Speak to Sell conference with Lisa Sasevich in Florida. Whoo hoo – can’t wait for some sun! It’s been a long winter.

After the conference my husband and I are heading to Miami for a few days of vacation and a chance for us to check out for a little bit! (Plus to celebrate our wedding anniversary – 9 years!)

As exciting as this all is, it means I’ve got several lists going all at once.

  • Lists for the conference
  • Lists for my vacation (altho I’ll still be working)
  • Lists for everything I have to catch up on before I go

I feel a bit like I’m drowning in lists.

It’s times like these that I have to step away from my usual tactic of just getting things done and zoom out a bit. – Otherwise I get too wrapped up in the small stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to do a workshop training with Ali Brown. She’s an amazing coach for entrepreneurs and she interviewed me for her podcast “Glambition Radio” about my book “Listful Thinking” a while back.

One of the things she taught in this creativity workshop was how to shift your focus. And it involved buying magazines! (My guilty pleasure!)

The idea is to go to a store and get yourself a magazine you would never normally read, which for me could be on something like golf or surfing or the National Geographic. But for you it could be anything that you wouldn’t consider yourself to be interested in.

Now when you read that magazine you have to be a completely objective outsider. The actual content is not that important to you so you can focus on the way they get their message across.  How do they engage with their readers.

So how does this help your list making efforts?

It can give you loads of idea for your own creative output and how you actually get things done. Can you be more creative about the way that you outsource? But also – stepping outside of our usual routine (it’s scary, I know) can actually spark great ideas and allow you to get more done. It will actually make you more productive and help utilize parts of your brain that might have been a bit sleepy til now.

They say you can travel all around world, but you can never escape yourself. Well that’s not strictly true. The magazine exercise allows you to take a break from your own mind and usual way of thinking and take a vacation in someone else’s hobby for a bit – and who knows what you might take away!

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Ever Wanted To Give A TEDx Talk?

There isn’t an expert, an author, or entrepreneur I know who wouldn’t love to give a TEDx talk. Or to do more speaking in general.

The problem isn’t opportunity (events alone are more popular than ever–and there are tons of TEDx events happening all over the world, year round).

The problem certainly isn’t passion or desire. You’ve got that in spades.

The problem, for most people, is they aren’t sure what it takes to create or land a TED-worthy talk. And they aren’t sure what to do theirs on.

But I know someone who does know—and she’s going to be sharing it in her first-ever live event.

Terri Trespicio is a brand advisor, award-winning writer and top-rated speaker with two TEDx talks under her belt—one of which has 3.6 million views to date. I met Terri when she worked as a magazine editor and since then we’ve become good friends and business partners! We created Lights Camera Expert together, which helps experts get media attention. Read more

Why I Renewed My Library Card

I am a huge fan of e-readers, it’s so much easier to pack one lightweight tablet then a dozen big heavy books. If I’m not reading a book on my Kindle, then I’m probably listening to it on Audible – which is even more portable. Thanks to these two things combined I haven’t read a physical book in I can’t even tell you how long.

But the other day all that changed.

I met a woman who was telling me all about the book club she was part of. As she’s telling me about their current book she pulls it out of her handbag. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she reading an actual hard copy book, but it was a book she had loaned from the library! Gasp!

It’s been a long time since I last stepped foot in a library.

The more I thought about it though, I realized this woman was totally on to something. If I’m being honest with you it’s not often these days that I finish a book. Having a e-reader allows me to read a few pages while I’m on the subway or waiting at the dentist, which means I don’t make as much time to sit down and just read! Read more

It’s Never Too Soon to Plan Weekends Away for the Summer

After all the bad weather we’ve been having lately, I’m really looking forward to the summer. So to help me lift my spirits and prepare for warmer days I’m bringing you the Summer Series. This blog post was inspired by my friend and regular reader, Sandra Keros. She’s a total expert on how to unplug and recharge.

In the last post Sandra explained how she takes little mini-destination breaks in the day to get out of her house and be inspired by the world around her. Read more